By David Kirkpatrick

Emojis, a staple of messaging app fans, have become so popular that a feature film is being made about them. But, even as the digital icons have picked up traction alongside the skyrocketing growth in messaging apps, some marketers are still unsure how to leverage them as anything other than a gimmicky text alternative.

Customer messaging marketing campaigns including emojis were up 609% between June 2015 and 2016, hitting 800 million emoji messages total, according to Appboy, which has been conducting ongoing research into emoji use. The increase was even more pronounced in Android push campaigns, which showed an 848% lift.

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